Archive for the ‘hildegard knef’ Category

story of a life

February 8, 2009

this post might does more explicitly bind music back to society, to history. and yes, it’s ms. knef as an example again. actress, singer – and writer. not only of good lyrics, for me in a rather french chanson tradition then in a german tradition. which is more a feeling then based on research. but somehow the attitude is…eeer…french. whatever that means. and then there is a french connection, too. but this is for later.

bookso – words. not only for songs, but ms. knef also wrote 2 books: an autobiography for half of her life, and a book about her having cancer. the first book, der geschenkte gaul, makes for a good read. there might be some difficulties regarding the mentioning of many names not very known anymore (well, if you did your homework on the last couple of posts, then many of them are not that unfamiliar), some names known. of course marlene plays a prominent role. but in a way i did not read it as hildegard kenf’s life story, but rather a life story. it is one testimonial about growing up in a totalitarian state, of just wanting to grow up, make a career, work what you enjoy. and the dry tone it is written in makes it a good read under this perspective. it is not apologetic, rather descriptive. and it leaves enough space to find ones own point of view. rather brechtian, right…

what fascinated me in this book, and that is why i do find stories like this important, is that i think i get a little bit a feel – or at least i start to see the huge distance to having grown up later, under very different circumstances. it is partly details that hit me: they haven’t been teached anything about german culture as we know it – either the writers and artist were jewish, or leftists, or suspect anyway…

of course there are also the more obvious differences, the tough experiences: her account about being bombed out – and again, ms knef is not playing for sympathy – it is more telling us what cards she got dealt… so a recommended read – not if you want to get a lot of gossip about stars, but if you want to read a story of a life in strange times that was already through these times an extraordinary life – but then also normal life – living it.

too lazy to read? well, listen to it. she actually recorded a reading of some of the excerpts – and yes, it is, read by hear, even more laconic. and it is a good selection – some harsh passages, some descriptive, and also some amusing anecdote about a not-greek, not-christian, not-jewish turtle…

just be aware: it is in german. otherwise you will have to buy the book (which has been translated in many languages).

hildegard kenf liest der geschenkte gaul – ripped from vinyl in four tracks, for each side one…


one artist ms knef only got to know pretty late (considering that i read his texts as a young teenager) is kurt tucholsky. and yes, she also recorded a record with his texts: most is pure text / reading, but there are also a handuful of songs on this record.

listening to it is interesting to note that tucholsky must have been a big influence on her writing lyrics…

well, have a listen for yourself. hildegard knef liest tucholsky you can get here.


knef:… live.

January 18, 2009

time to fullfill my promise and give you more. more knef: a little sequence of live-recordings. ripped from vinyl as one track per side. enjoy!


die neue knef 1966


knef – concert 1968

two things concerning this recording:

1 – it’s a great recording

2 – unfortunately i only have part one, i.e. the first vinyl. so if somebody could provide part 2?


knefconcert86and now: fast forward into 1986. hildegard knef – concert 1986. this one i got quite a while ago from the net. thanks to the original uploader!

and for some more information on ms knef and her recordings i especially recommend this site.

and yes: there will be some more knef comin up…


January 12, 2009

…back into where i left off last year… slowly slowly….


hildegard knefeins und eins, das macht zwei / so hat alles seinen sinn 7″

jaja, so hat alles seinen sinn… or as we used to say: it’s all connected….


more new york then hollywood, but definitly berlin: die knef

November 19, 2008

i don’t know if hildegard knef could be considered a good citizen – i guess she couldn’t care. but she certainly had a wide experience in the field – growing up in germany in the 1930s and 1940s, having no citizenship in a berlin after ww II, being american, then british – and i have to admit i did not research if she became later again german.

so like many german artist of the 20th century she wasn’t german. which is one of many links she has with marlene dietrich. and they were actually close friends: there is a telling scene, recorded on film, when dietrich is getting out of the airplane first time she arrives in berlin after the war: first to greet her are the mother – and hildegard knef. yes, the friendship of these two women is very fascinating – so alike and so different…

but we get into the biography of ms knef at a later stage. yes, be warned – there will be quite some knef coming up. yeah, i always had a thing for her – even way back as a kid. a lot to do with that voice.

for this post i would like to point out especially one record of hers – and it is funny since R just pointed it out – roughly a year ago i did post something about that great record of cole porter covers. and now it is time again to put up another great record of cole porter songs. yes, hildegard knef worked with cole porter – by his request. and she sung many of his songs – in english. but even better: also in german. even better because the lyrics have been translated congenially by mischa mleinek, an author so far unknown to me. but his translations are fantastic. and in one case even better then the original. yes, there was a hint here about that song. in the original it is called laziest gal in town – but in german it is so much better. and then ms knef is also the perfect interpreter for cole porter songs – well, i could now write a lot about why and all that, but then i suppose it is much better you listen for yourself. so get her record träume heissen du, lovingly ripped from vinyl, here.and should you still be in doubt: this is a great record. yes.


and well, this recording has been reissued on cd – including also a lot of versions sung in english. as a little teaser here the english version of fever:

yes, i did already mention that i am quite an admirer of her work – therefore you’ll get some more. because it really swings, and because it shows that ms knef was a very good writer of lyrics herself – i have to admit on this record i especially like the rather sad songs. little vignetten, which bring it in the short span of a song perfectly to the point: high class pop music. and it points into the direction of more words (and yes, also more music) by her… get ich seh die welt durch deine augen here.


and now i wonder how long it takes for irmgard to leave a comment…